Ian Allan's Mailbag
Posted Feb. 24 at 01:32 PM
Publisher Ian Allan fields your questions on strategy, how to run your league, player ratings -- and whatever else you think of. Updated every Friday during the season; Tuesdays and Fridays during the last two months of the preseason. You must be registered and signed-in to submit a mailbag question. After you sign in at the top of the page, the link to submit a mailbag question will become visible.
For Terrell Owens I have been offered pick 1.7, Greg Olsen and Bernard Berrian. I have turned down this trade but would like to hear your thoughts. My interest is this: this is a very deep draft for RBs. Olsen I think has a chance to be very good and Berrian would have value if he went to a team like the 49ers or the Eagles. My WRs are as follows: Owens, Steve Smith, Braylon Edwards and Lee Evans. So what are your thoughts?
JOHN SHELBROCK [FRANKENMUTH, MI]
If you're starting only two wide receivers, I think it makes sense to move him. Owens is 34, so he probably only has one or two good years left, so why not move him now, when his value is still high. We're talking about a guy who's probably going to score about 14 TDs in 2008 -- the kind of numbers that help win championships. With Edwards and Smith on your roster, you already have maybe the best one-two punch at wide receiver in your league. And Evans, if the Bills can get their offense fixed, might be a top 10 or 15 receiver as well.
But I would not accept the deal that was proposed to you. All three of the components mentioned have some value, but none are necessarily special, and you need to get something good -- a difference maker -- if you're going to give up Owens.
I like Greg Olsen. He's one of the fastest tight ends in the league, and he had a nice rookie year -- 39 catches and 2 TDs in 14 games. I think it's realistic for him to jump up to about 50 catches and 4 TDs in the upcoming season, and I'm sure he'll be a top-10 tight end many times over the next eight years. But does that make him particularly valuable in a fantasy league? I don't think so. There are a lot of good tight ends out there -- Watson, Heap, Winslow, Miller, Daniels, Clark, Gates, Gonzalez, Witten, L.J. Smith, Shockey, Cooley and Vernon Davis -- and plenty more are constantly creeping out of the woodwork. Maybe Leonard Pope. Maybe Randy McMichael re-emerges. Whomever the Seahawks sign (Alge Crumpler, perhaps) or draft to start at tight end could be a top-10 guy. Olsen is stuck on a team that might not have an above-average passing attack for years, and he's not even necessarily their No. 1 tight end -- they still have Desmond Clark, whom they just gave a two-year contract extension.
Tight end is a funny position. You only start half as many of them in fantasy leagues (most leagues, anyway), yet they keep playing a bigger and bigger role in the actual real-life game. Back in the 1988-1990 seasons, tight ends accounted for only 16 percent of team's TD receptions. But now they've been at 24-plus percent four years in a row (the only four times this has happened since I started tracking this). The total last year -- 26.3 percent -- is the highest of the 20 years I have on file.
But I digress. Back to the trade. I like Olsen, but not enough that I give him much value at all in this trade scenario. And the value of Owens dwarfs the other two portions as well. Berrian is a talented receiver with some upside -- he can score long-range touchdowns, and he's a young guy on the rise -- but I can't guarantee that he's going to be a top-25 receiver. He's kind of like Lee Evans -- a possible top receiver if all of the parts around him are functioning properly. We'll have to wait and see where Berrian signs, but my early guess is he'll probably wind up being about the No. 25 receiver on my board.
As for the No. 7 pick in your draft, I don't think there will be a can't-miss young player there. Darren McFadden will be long gone. He ensured that by running a 4.27 on Sunday at the combine. And if the Seahawks select a running back in the first or second round (to replace Shaun Alexander), that guy will be long gone as well. Plenty of running backs selected in the second and third rounds have made big impacts right away in the NFL. Curtis Martin and Karim Abdul-Jabbar come to mind. And a year from now, you'll probably be able to look back and say, "I should have selected that running back with the No. 7 pick in the draft." But I don't think it will be clear in August which running back you should select -- more likely, there will be something like three candidates, and two of them will never amount to much.
If you do this deal, remember, you're not only giving up Owens, you're also giving up two roster spots. And we don't really know what players you lose there. That could be the hidden cost of this deal -- maybe it's some young backup running back who becomes a star starter for some team after an injury or holdout.
Bottom line: I would decline the deal. If you start three receivers, I'd probably just hold onto to Owens and hope he helps you to a championship in 2008. If you start two wide receivers, I would probably try to swap Owens for a proven, high-level running back.
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